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William E. Darke
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A tale of the supernatural set in Wales: 1810 - the occasion of King George III's Golden Jubilee. The Morrigu, a creature from Celtic mythology, is accidentally trapped inside the world's first photograph.
Two hundred years later, the photographer's descendent, Christopher Northway, is haunted by the Morrigu because he holds the key to its freedom, but if liberated the creature will unleash hell upon the world. As the Morrigu's influence continues to grow, Northway discovers that the only person who can help him defeat the Morrigu is his wife... his dead wife.
I knew the day. The exact day: it was the eighth of May, four and a half years ago, the occasion of our first visit to Wales. I remember being over-awed by open landscapes and unplowed meadows, harking back to an England of half a century earlier. This was the day we went to view the cottage that was to become our home.
It was also the day I saw the arch for the very first time. I think some part of me recognized it for what it was, even then. Call it instinct if you will, but somehow I knew that thing was going to play a major role in our lives.
Cathy turned away from the vista to look at me. She reached across and rested a hand on my thigh. I smiled at the sight of the hole in the sleeve of her green turtleneck sweater. Iâ€™d lost count of the number of times Iâ€™d reminded her that she was no longer poor, that we could afford a new one. But she always became defensive and refused to part with it. I knew the reason, of course; it was the sweater sheâ€™d been wearing the night we first met, and I suspected that she would still be patching it up when she was an old woman.
I met her gaze and found her eyes bright with excitement. "Itâ€™s beautiful. I want us to live here,â€ she announced.
"We will,â€ I promised, "but keep in mind that whatever we buy is only for weekends and vacations. I need to live close to London when Iâ€™m working, within easy reach of the recording studios.â€
"Youâ€™re always working,â€ she said. It was a mild rebuke. About to defend myself, I glanced at her again and caught that familiar impish smile playing about her lips. She resumed, "You need to slow down a bit, my darling,â€ she added. "Youâ€™re not getting any younger, you know.â€
The disadvantage of marrying a woman thirteen years oneâ€™s junior is that one is never allowed to forget it. At the time of our first visit to Wales, Cathy had only just emerged from her teens, while I was already several birthdays into my thirty-something years.
"Iâ€™ll have you know thereâ€™s nothing wrong with this body,â€ I objected. "Not a week goes by when I donâ€™t get dozens of offers from nubile young girls promising me sexual favors.â€
"You exaggerate. You only had two last month.â€
"Youâ€™re reading my mail?â€
"Certainly. Youâ€™re married now, Christopher. No more using your fame to seduce minors.â€
"Iâ€™ve never--â€ I began, then broke off with a sheepish grin. She had me.
"I was only sixteen when you first had your wicked way with me,â€ she pointed out, sliding her hand up my thigh until her fingers rested just a few inches from my groin. It was flustering me, as she knew it would.
"Okay, okay. But that was different.â€
"I donâ€™t see how.â€ Her hand moved up another inch. I glanced down involuntarily to see what she was doing, and ended up taking the next corner a little too fast. I compensated by giving the steering wheel a sharp twist, only narrowly missing the ditch. Cathy pulled a face of mock-alarm at this maneuver and withdrew her hand. "Besides,â€ she resumed as if nothing had happened, "itâ€™s not your body Iâ€™m worried about. The mind is usually the first thing to go in your line of work. Too much loud music and drug abuse.â€
We passed a sign that read Pontarfynach. The English translation in smaller print beneath it had been almost obliterated by black spray paint, reflecting the attitude of some of the Welsh toward the English, but it was still possible to make out the name Devilâ€™s Bridge. "Want to know how this place got its name?â€ Cathy asked mischievously.
William E. Darke was raised in southern England and attended Universities in both Scotland and Wales. While at the University of Wales, he lived close to the locale where his debut novel, Echoes, it set. Darke moved to America in 1996, working first as a researcher for NOAA and later as Director of the Climate Dynamics and Paleoclimate Programs for the National Science Foundation in Washington D.C. He currently resides in Pennsylvania with his wife and three cats.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 252
Paper Weight (lb): 13.6
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